My best friend owns an Alfa 156 1.6 TS (2003 model) and it's a joy, I travel with him a lot and I've driven it once.
This car is beautiful, stylish and has one of the best interiors in a road going cars (especially at night with those red lights on the dashboard.
The performance is great and it easily dusts of equivalent BMW's. And the button called (ASR OFF) next to the foglights, is responsible for the traction. Turn it off and enjoy sliding the car, but don't do that unless you are a skilled driver, this car has lots of power and is a FWD.
The safety level is high in this car with lots of Airbags and stiff chasis, he once had a big accident, but the car protected him well and was repaired at the local dealer (which I admit is slightly behind the Germans).
Overall, this is a car you buy with your head (reliability is very good) and your heart.
My Alfa 156 2.0 JTS is one of the best cars I have owned. I have mainly had Audi's and VW's in the past. I have had it for about 18 months now with no problems..
I have however just experienced a "Motor Control System Failure" warning message which was reset by the dealer - the fault was with the LAMBDA 1 sensor - the fault was cleared and so far has not returned. The car continues to run perfectly.
Also just started having problems with front passenger door speakers which keep going on and off - I plan to check the wiring connections first before taking it to the dealer.
All in all a very good car - the driving experience more than makes up for these minor problems.
Warning - Check your bonnet catch is working. Due to a design fault, the safety catch will not work. I learnt the hard way and wrote my car off last week when the bonnet few up in the window at 70mph.
Alfa's response - there is no problem. Even though it's caused loads of accidents this year.
Nice work Alfa - I wonder how long it's going to take you to do something before someone dies.
For the guy with the loose wiring in the speakers here's a tip... when you open the front doors you will see a socket of wires that plugs into the door; most likely the clips have come loose. It is simple to fix, but every now and then they will come loose again (Of course it is an alfa after all)!
Well here I am again...it's been about six months now and whilst I have learned to ignore the "motor control system failure" warning it really irritates me. However now I have bigger problems, the car has stopped going into 4th gear!
I don't care what anyone says; this is a 4 year old car that has done less than 65,000 Kms and these things should not be happening. I have had fault after fault and headache after headache. The 156 is a beautiful car to drive and it looks fantastic both in and out, but it is an absolute lemon in terms of mechanical reliability.
I will now utter the words that so many have uttered before me (Only I was too stupid to listen)... I will never buy another Alfa again.
I have a 2002 Alfa 156 2.0 JTS. I have gone over two years since I had a "Motor Controller Failure" message. When it originally happened, the dealer replaced some wiring. However, it just re-occurred today. My question is: can I re-set the computer myself without returning the car to the dealer? I am fairly sure it's basically OK and it's just the sensitive OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) system that has triggered the 'fault'. This would save a lot of time and hassle.
Here I am again (The guy with the problems). Almost 2 years I have had the car now and the electrical problems just keep on coming - but now I just sort of laugh about it.
In summary -
- Windscreen wipers do not turn off (ever!).
- Continual blowing of headlights and break light globes.
- Motor Control Failure message at least 2 days a week.
- Manual gearbox stripped several teeth.
- Heater/fan motor failed.
- Diff gear problems.
- On board computer screen failed.
- Lose speaker wiring.
This car has never at any time been 100% during the 2 years I have owned it - always something wrong just to annoy me. It is such a shame that such a well rounded car is let down by poor quality.
So many people told me the cars have problems and I didn't listen. But the good news is I have finally made up my mind, the car is going for sure; I will give Audi or VW a try - fingers crossed it works out.
Hello, it’s been a few years sine I started this discussion now! Now have a Lexus SC430 (after owning a Jag and a Mercedes) which is a very nice car, very comfortable, very reliable, however, dull in character unlike the Alfa. It goes like s**t off a shovel, but lacks the character and style of the Alfa. However, it’s all too easy to remember the good things about the Alfa, not the shocking after sales service. On the one day of the last year I owned my Alfa, when ran properly it was a perfect machine to drive. It was just the other 364 days a year that were a bit of a misery!
My wife drives a 2001 Alfa 156, which has been trouble free until now! It turns itself OFF usual early into a trip. It eventually restarts sometimes 1 min later or as long as 15 minutes later. Any ideas???
I own a 2003 156 2.4 DIESEL Sportwagon. This car is an absolute joy to drive with superb performance and fuel economy. One fault has occured since I have owned the car, when I rev above 4000rpm the Motor Control Unit Failure warning message comes on but then disappears when I change up to the next gear. I am not worried about this as it is more than likely due to an over sensitive OBD. I will only start to worry if fuel and/or oil consumption start to increase - often the best way to diagnose a real problem with any car. In terms of overall quality and the inevitable comparison between Alfa'a and BMW's - I have owned a 3 series and a 5 series. The former was an absolute death trap and a reliability nightmare, the latter had a braking system failure resulting in it being written off!
I have an 2003 Alfa Romeo 156 JTS..
I love it :D
It drives beautifully, looks beautifully, very comfortable and spacious..
I also have the Motor Control System Failure display that comes and goes as it pleases..
It will come and display itself every time I drive for week/s then disappear for week/s..
I got no idea what causes it, but my presumption is that of dirty cheap fuel (despite filling up with Premium High Octane) from the servo stations..
It sometimes annoys me when you turn on the car and beep, beep M-C-S-F :@grrrr.
I have however noticed a problem.. It occurs when I break on occasions.. The front right makes what sounds like a shrilly whining voice.. Viiiieeeeerrrrrrrrnnnnnnn LOL
I assure you my brake pads are very full..
My rims also get very filthy from all the brake dust and it is pain-some to clean and clean..
Do any of you know what could cause that noise??
The noise - it could be any number of things - It's an Alfa.
Good news for me is (first post in May 2006 when I just bought my 156 JTS) I finally traded my 156 in - it was a very good day for me. 8 years old and it still drove very well and still looked pretty decent too. But I had so, so, so, so, so many problems with it in last 4 years that I just don't have the time to tell you them all. I do feel for the person that buys it next, but I gave it away to the dealer for almost nothing.
That experience has been enough to put me off the brand for the rest of my life. I will not forget it. RIP 156.